With summertime winding down, this may be a good time to invite a few friends over for a relaxing outdoor dinner party. Dining al fresco, sharing good food, yummy drinks with great people is the best. It’s always fun to entertain outdoors and if you keep things simple, doesn’t have to be stressful to plan.
This month I wanted to share my 5 outdoor dining tips for you to consider when planning an outdoor party.
Hoping these tips will encourage you to entertain at home and help make your next get together easy to plan.

How to Set Up?
Keep things simple. Take inventory of what you already have on hand and how you can use it for the dinner party. Make sure you have a table and chairs to accommodate everyone. Little touches like cloth napkins, plate chargers, flowers, mason jars and guest favors can all add a nice touch. Lighting especially can add a beautiful ambience. Think candles, string lights or lanterns. Adding pillows and light blankets for when the sun goes down can add a homey touch as well.

How to Personalize Details?
Making your guests feel welcome is so important. Even though you took the time to plan everything, they have taken the time to show up. It’s always nice to add a personal touch to thank your guests for coming. Adding a personalized favor (gift) at each place setting is always a nice touch. I like to use mini wine bottles as a way to thank a guest for coming. Companies like personalwine.com always have fun gift options.

What Food to Serve?

No dinner guest wants to see a host running around during the party. Food planning and preparation is very important to plan in advance. Will it be family style, indoor or outdoor buffet? Will you use the grill or will you have all food ready to go before guests arrive?
Typically, I prefer to host family style outdoor parties. I prepare sides and desserts the day before. The day of, I make the main dish and keep it warm in my oven until ready to serve. Kabobs, ribs, slider, pulled pork, or a taco bar are also quick and easy alternatives!

What to Drink?
Once you decide on the types of food you will be serving, drinks are the next thing to plan for. Having two options make it easy and ALWAYS be sure to have plenty of water available for your guests.

What Music to Play?
Think of the mood you would like to create and select your music based on that. Classics seem to go over well with most guests. It’s best to download all your music several days before. Ads during your party can get a bit disruptive.

Bonus tips
Have bug wipes on hand so your guests are not spraying bug spray into the air and near food/drinks.
If you are placing the dining table on grass, consider adding an outdoor rug underneath it. That way it will help from little critters crawling on your guests’ feet.

Thank you again for taking the time to read my outdoor dining tips. 
Hope you have a fabulous AUGUST!!

If you would like to be considered to be featured in one of the next publications please email Alley at PR@lifeofalley.com

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